About My Websites
I've been a web developer since the mid-1990s. I learned page coding back in the days when websites had only one purpose: to convey information. No stores. No games. No videos. Not even custom fonts. Just the facts, ma'am. To this day I still adhere to this philosophy. Every one of the thousands of web pages here is pure hand-coded, human-readable HTML designed solely to deliver information.
This is not to say I'm incapable of being as "fancy" as the next guy. I'm a professional visual designer/graphic artist, and I've also worked as a web application programmer doing some pretty highfalutin stuff. But there's no need for anything like that here. Indeed, visual styling more often than not distracts from what's important, rather than enhance it. Not to mention that websites today aren't the slightest bit conservative about the amount of code required to deliver them. Hey, everyone has broadband now, right? Wrong. Plus, mobile web surfing, which is growing exponentially, suffers the most from lazy web developers.
The design choices I've made are all deliberate and carefully geared to maximize readability, including the font, column width, colors, layout, etc. Consider this observation just on typography: "When genuinely good, it's like a plain glass window, allowing a clear view of the subject, while ostentatious typography is like a stained-glass window, drawing attention to its own beauty but obscuring the real view." (Alas, the source of this pearl is unknown.)
And yes, I still use tables for page layout (I can just imagine "modern" web developers shuddering uncontrollably at the thought!). Why? Because style sheets are prone to failure, especially for mobile browsers; a poorly-coded style sheet can result in pages that won't even render. Tables don't fail. This approach also makes everything backward-compatible for just about any known browser, and even forward-compatible given that support for tables cannot go away.
So, you may find my websites quaintly outdated and boring, in which case you may as well back out now, because they're not meant for you. There's no "user experience" here—that's crap for corporations looking to squeeze a profit from every click. My websites are for people who seek information, which I offer freely. No paywall. No tracking. No bullshit.
In the early days of webmastering, the mantra was Content is King. Here, at least, it still is.
For Web Geeks (what few are left)
What do I use to build my pages? These days it's Notepad++, principally because it conveniently color-codes the HTML tags. I've used a number of other applications over the years, including plain old Notepad, but never one that creates pages for me, such as WordPress. These apps often generate a lot of garbage code that's not man-readable. Have a look at the source code for this page: clean, simple, and easily understood. Just like the rendered page.
Aside from creating many commercial websites (the first of them earning the client over a million in revenue its first year online), I've built complete message boards and blogs from scratch, including the database architecture as well as the all of the user interfaces. Professionally, I've been deeply involved in web application development: for a major pharma I created dozens of specialized applications, from project organization and employee timekeeping apps to instrument control and data management systems.
At the peak of my career, I developed a suite of web-based chemical and genetic engineering applications to help oncologists synthesize new cancer-fighting drugs. During this time I also became a user interface consultant, conducting usability studies and advising other developers. I actually looked forward to coming into work, and went home feeling good—even on "bad days."
I've never won any web design awards. I've never had any desire to try, since most awards are given to developers of "visually exciting" websites. I have zero need for such crap; my websites are all built solely to deliver content. Period. Any "design" tactics I might employ are strictly to make the delivery of said content as easy and comfortable as possible, not to dazzle visitors with useless window dressing. It's like the difference between a movie that relies on special effects to keep the audience engaged, as opposed to telling a good story.
Since immersing myself in web publishing, I've helped others become fluent in HTML, and they've gone on to become exceptional webmasters. Sadly, the industry is steering people in the direction of commercial website creation applications that actually make things more difficult to control; once you go down this path, you're locked into someone else's idea of good web design. Worse, much of this involves needless complexity behind the scenes, mostly because you're forced into dynamic page generation even for static content, which means your content isn't actually "real"; it's lost in the bowels of software that's at risk of failure—not to mention obsolescence, as modern developers crank out new languages and apps almost daily. But, that's the way the web world spins these days, and what I do is considered akin to blacksmithing: one day soon these skills will be lost.
Since I began creating websites in the stone age, I've amassed quite a large library covering a broad variety of topics. All together as of March 2023 there are very roughly 6,500 pages and over 32,500 images in 14 websites. Here are all of the top-level websites of mine that still exist (quite a few more have become subsites, and still more are long gone). Those marked * have their own unique domain names.
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